I found this post when I was searching for the Matthew Shepard video that Kathy had on her show. I must say that I am not a religious person. However, I am coming to realize the true message of Jesus.
My family never went to church so the only source of religious knowledge I got was from my (now ex-) boyfriend and some Christian friends of mine. They would constantly tell me that being gay was a choice and that it was a sin. Having a gay cousin and witnessing him growing up, I can say with certainty that being gay is no choice.
I think this is what initially turned me off to Christianity in general. The lack of acceptance and compassion was not appealing. This was in high school.
Now, I'm heading into my last year of college and I am starting to embrace Jesus. Not the "televangelist" version, but the Jesus that I know in my heart to be compassionate and understanding. Thank you for reaffirming that Christians can actually be Christ-like. I have to read the bible further to really understand Him, but He really does seem very different than what I understood Him to be.
With that being said, if he were to come back, I sincerely feel that we, as a society, would shun him. He would be standing up for equal rights and the homeless and hungry. The "Christians" that I know would call him a faggot and tell him to get a real job, if not worse.
Sorry for the long post, but you've really inspired me to educate myself further and it's so great to know that people like you are teaching their children the real lessons of the Bible. Thank you.
I get discouraged, just like anybody else. Frustrated. Angry. Bitter. As some of you know, I've had my work stolen over the years. Twice made into movies. Once more to add to a movie. No money. No credit. Nothing. I ask God why. He says nothing.
But, I have other discouragements. The work I do for Him. Not usually the best jobs. I get the Ezekiel jobs...after others have passed on them. Nobody likes Ezekiel jobs. Fewer people like Ezekiel. It's been hard on my family. Lonely for them. You rarely see positive results.
Sometimes I want to quit. Not just my writing. Working for God.
Then, I get a letter like Cheslie's.
A letter like that makes it all worthwhile.
I didn't teach her anything. Didn't tell her anything she didn't all ready know in her heart. God loves her. She loves Him. They have a relationship. It's personal. Private. Full of questions...and love. The way a relationship should be. Getting to know each other. All God had me do was reassure her. Let her know that what she was reading in the Bible was true...not what the "Christians" around her were telling her.
About a lot of things.
What would it be like if Jesus came today in the same ministry that He did two thousand years ago? Where would He go? Who would he see? What would He do?
He'd be at abortion clinics.
But not out front with placards of dead babies.
He'd be at the back door...with His arms open wide. Loving these young women. Comforting them. Accepting them.
He'd be active on Gay/Lesbian issues.
But not at rallies with signs saying, "God hates faggots"...and worse.
He'd be at Aids hospices...with his arms around the sick. He'd heal them. Every one of them.
And they would love Him.
He would encourage gay and lesbian couples to take in the children that others didn't want. So that those children could have a home. A home where they would be loved...valued...cared for...wanted. And they would love Him for it.
He would shame the churches, especially the mega-churches, into feeding the hungry and providing shelter for the homeless...instead of spending millions on fancier pews, private jets, and fancy clothes.
And then they would turn on Him...because He ate and drank with "sinners". The would mock and ridicule Him...and crucify Him.
And who would weep for Him then?
The women who had abortions that He comforted. Those with Aids that He healed. The Gays and Lesbians that he loved and accepted. The homeless and the hungry that He cared for.
The rejected of society...and the rejected of the Church.
People like Cheslie.
And people like me.
When I read Cheslie's letter, I cried. Not just because it touched the deepest parts of my soul. I cried because it made my heart break.
How sad is it, that God has to send Cheslie through this Rube Goldberg contraption of circumstances to find someone to reaffirm for her that what she believes about Him in her heart is right?
How much sadder that He has to send her to someone like me?
If you're a Christian, put your picket signs down.
Forget about politics.
Start expressing the Love of Christ to those around you. Your life might be the only Bible they ever read. Your speech, your actions, might be the only examples of Christ that they ever see.
When times are so desperate in the Church that God has to send someone to me from thousands of miles away, just for simple love and acceptence, it's not just a shame.
It's a tradgedy.
Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful that God loves me enough to let me be involved.
But how many people...people close to Cheslie...must have passed on the job for it to get to me?
Cheslie thanked me.
But my thanks, and my prayers, go to her.
Thank you Cheslie. May God Bless you and keep you...and all of those that you care for. If I don't get to meet you here...I'll be looking for you in Heaven.
Your letter was like a cool drink of water on a long, dry journey. My wife and my children read your letter. It made them cry too.
And they thank you.